Law enforcement, firefighters receive American Legion awards

Seven officers awarded humanitarian, lifesaving awards for response to September shooting, saving person who jumped from bridge



The American Legion presents an award to five police officers for their heroism during September’s College Hill shooting at the Pullman City Coucil meeting on March 29.

MOLLY WILK, Evergreen reporter

Jerry Coker and Ted Weatherly, Pullman Police Department commander and adjutant, presented American Legion Awards honoring first responders at the Pullman City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Whitcom Supervisor Jamie Keller received the 911 operator of the year award. Keller began working at Whitcom Regional Dispatch Center in 2005 and quickly exceeded expectations, the Whitcom executive director wrote in her nomination.

The executive director nominated Keller because of her willingness to pick up extra shifts and work a flexible schedule, along with her aptitude for working in dispatch.  

Reserve firefighter Nate Richardson was awarded paramedic and emergency technician of the year.

Pullman Fire Chief Mike Heston nominated Richardson for his work at the WSU and University of Southern California football game on Sept. 18. After he was approached by a choking student, Richardson performed the Heimlich maneuver and diffused the situation, Heston wrote in his nomination. 

The firefighter of the year award was presented to firefighter and paramedic Steven Potratz-Lee for his work in organizing the reserve firefighter academy. 

Seven individuals received humanitarian and lifesaving awards. 

Pullman Police Officer Brian Chamberlin was the first recipient for his work in saving a citizen who jumped from a bridge. Chamberlin pulled the citizen back over the railing by the rope attached to him, according to Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins’ nomination. 

Officer Shane Emmerson, Sgt. Todd Dow, Officer Luv St. Andre, College Hill Officer Garrett Willis and Officer Ruben Harris were awarded the humanitarian and lifesaving awards for their work when responding to a noise complaint in September, Jenkins wrote in his nomination. 

While responding, the officers heard what sounded like 15 gunshots. They were able to find both victims and effectively diffuse the situation, according to Jenkins’ nomination. 

Officer Brock Westerman was presented with the last humanitarian and lifesaving award for his work responding to a traumatic injury where he applied a tourniquet to the individual at the scene, Jenkins wrote in his nomination. 

St. Andre and Harris were also awarded Medals of Valor for their work when responding to the September shooting. The two rendered first aid when they arrived on the scene and put the safety of others above their own, Jenkins wrote in his nomination. 

Willis received the Officer of the Year award. Jenkins nominated Willis for the initiative he took in providing training and equipment and his willingness to accept the role as the College Hill Officer.